Think of promises and you know there is a whole of events, psychology, character attached to it. Before talking about Promise today, I want to showcase some incidents from the Indian mythology, which provoked me to write about it.
Think of the first chapter of Mahabharata, when King Santanu fell in love with Ganga and he was blinded by his love, that he promised Ganga, that he would never question her acts. What followed was a beautiful marriage and birth of child. When Ganga drown their first child, King Santanu realized what he had promised was something that he couldn’t stand. But however since he was of Kshatriya nature, he could go on with his promise however sad or depressing the consequences were. Eventually this repeated until the 8th child, was being drowned when King Santanu couldn’t take any more and he questions Ganga about why she does that. Now that he asked, she does tell him about the Story of the Sages in previous life, who were cursed to be put to death the moment they were born or something that was essential to bring them to moksha etc etc. The point is Ganga left King Santanu with the child, the child became later the Bhismha. King Santanu getting into marriage again, Satyavati feeling insecure about her children’s future, Bhismha vowing for celebacy, family splitting into parts and following is a Epic War.
Go to the flashback and you will see that history repeats itself always. In the story of Ramayana, King Dashrath promises to Kaikayee, that she can ask for it in some later point of time. What follows is Kaikayee asking her son, Bharatha to be crowned as the King and Rama hence sent to exile or forest. That follows with Rama being the good son, following what his father says. King Dashrath living upto his Promise because of his Kshatriya dharm. However there is a story that connects here again, why this happened. Once King Dashrath was hunted in the wild, while he accidents kills a young man. He was Sharavan kumar, who was taking care of his old blind parents. In the sadness and pain of losing their son, the old parents curse Dashrath of the same fate, hence he is separated from his son in old age and experience the same pain as the Sharavan’s parent had to. Rama leaving Ayodhya, Sita and Laxman following him, Laxman encounters with Surpanakha, Raavan’s entry, kidnapping Sita and follows an Epic War.
There are couple of more incidents where a person is bound by his word, leading to whole lot of consequences and incidents. The Epics, if had to be pin pointed a particular point, can be in a way traced to the day or event, when a promise was made. Now evidently, these Epics, do not consider or claim any event to be good or bad. Any event or incident that happens is a reason that something happened in the past and that it had to be repaid, whether in same life or next life. There are other aspects to it however, the possession of kingdom, the involvement of a queen/princess, the dharma path and so on, which were narrated to teach the next generation of the consequences, occurrence and impact of certain decisions, promises and thoughts we carry. This is my the prime human nature, that we do things and then we face the consequences. Sometimes the consequences are good and sometimes they are not so good.
It is then the test of a person in question when somethings are not so good, what does he make out of it. Dwelling in the ocean of endless possibilities and trying to figure out the cause of the event or focusing on the present and looking after what can be done good in the next moment.
So now that you see what a promise can yield into and how the consequences can be, it is wise and sensible to be very peculiar about the promise one makes and if you are a kind of person who can give up everything for the virtue of a promise, then it should be made a strict rule to wait before promising something. There will be moments when one is blinded by love, obligated by a favor, sympathized by affection, driven by morality or an adrenaline drift to feel the urge to promise anything selflessly, but again waiting and pausing for a moment can help ease out lot of thing.
With that said, there is an aspect which makes me rethink that however hard or different a human may try events will happen eventually to lead to the destiny, may be the path might change, but they will lead to that. So if we go by the myth or the sayings of Hinduism, since every thing that follows is afterlife and you are just repaying or savoring the doing of previous life, you cannot necessarily avoid the happening of few things. You can however decide what to make out of it and how to go about dealing with it. Once you rise above the cycle of the confusion and frustration, when you try to see things from your inner self and not get dejected by the problems or clouded by the success and pleasure, you will see the true self and you can travel towards the path of a perfect bliss. The ENLIGHTENMENT. You will then discover your purpose and your objective. You will when successfully execute the purpose, you will attain Moksha, you will be deprived of all the worldly confusions and achieve liberation.